Rating: General Audiences
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Pure-bloods and muggleborns aren't that different.
Word Count: 792
Prompt: #099 Cross'o'ver
Author's Notes: This was to be expected, really.
“Merlin? Your parents have high expectations for you, don’t they?”
“I’m named after the bird,” Merlin clarified to the presumptuous, sun-dyed Gryffindor, rolling his eyes at the scandalised doubt he received in return. What was it with pure-blooded wizards and their incompetence to stand in one place for five minutes without opening their ignorant mouths and slighting somebody? Merlin had been led to believe that pure-bloods were trained from birth to be courteous and dramatically ceremonial – clearly his textbooks had crossed disastrously somewhere along the line.
“You are not,” the Gryffindor stated firmly, as if he held all of the knowledge of the world in his egotistically swelled brain. He crossed his arms over the crisp, pristine black of his new robes like a lion calculating its prey, and Merlin could only be thankful that they were both obscenely early to their Charms class so that the crowd to the inevitable embarrassment that was about to take place was startlingly minimal.
The Gryffindor’s embarrassment that is – just because Merlin was a Hufflepuff didn’t mean he was going to let the more predacious houses step all over him.
“What sort of wizarding family uses that excuse to name their son after the most well-known and powerful wizard of all time?”
“Oh I don’t know,” Merlin sighed, fixing the other boy with a disappointed and frankly apathetic glare. “A muggle one?”
The unnaturally blonde Gryffindor blinked, his reckless mouth opening and closing a few times in stupor, jaw amplifying the slow, mechanical grinding of his brain to try and process that answer. Merlin gave him a moment, pitying the innocent chubbiness of his terrible social skills, and did his best not to laugh.
“You’re a muggleborn?” came the question eventually; Merlin felt his eyebrows rise as if he would have never expected such a thing.
“Definitely named after the bird, thank you,” he replied in the most sarcastic tone his high-pitched eleven year old voice could manage. The Gryffindor seemed uncomfortable now, and Merlin had to repress a saddened sigh at the true prejudice colours of the wizarding world. “Is that going to be a problem?”
The other fumbled for a second, clearly unused to being out of his depth in a conversation that he had initiated, but quickly recovered to reply in a broken, choked manner that suggested he had just swallowed his tongue; “No – no, of course not.” He regarded Merlin carefully; the Hufflepuff mirrored the expression, caught completely unaware at the abrupt turn to the topic. “I’m Arthur Pendragon.”
“Um,” said Merlin, glancing down at the offered hand with his nose scrunched up. Unfortunately he had not quite read far enough into his wizarding version of ‘Pure-bloods for Dummies’ textbook to know exactly what to do next: all previous conversations with pure-bloods had simply ended after the revelation of his unsatisfactory blood status. “I’m not going to kiss it if that’s what you’re after.”
Arthur’s hand dropped ever so slightly. “Don’t muggles do this?” he asked, wavering in a childish uncertainty.
Merlin laughed at the incredulity of the instigation. “The only person I ever kiss is my mum.”
There was a moment of silence between them, thick and heavy like fog, and Merlin abruptly realised with clarity of a new spring morning that they were both quite apparently on the wrong page. He blushed and laughed again – nervously – and shook the Gryffindor’s hand swiftly and fleetingly with his sweaty palm; Arthur’s hesitancy caught on just a second later and he encouraged the exchange into a movement more fitting of the formality that Merlin expected from a pure-blood.
“Sorry,” Merlin muttered when they pulled apart. “I didn’t realise you wanted –”
A hand shake, of all things. What eleven year old asked for a hand shake?
Arthur shrugged, his face lighting up in satisfaction. “I guess we can’t all take after the most legendary wizards in the world, can we?” he teased, shoving the Hufflepuff in a friendly manner of affection. “You wanna sit next to me in Charms? It pays to learn from the best after all.”
Merlin shoved back hard enough for Arthur to tumble into the gradually increasing crowd of students, four of which who squawked in outrage at the gangly movements of the barrelling Gryffindor. Professor Flitwick stuck his tiny head out of the classroom a second later and righted the scene with a wave of his wand; Arthur glowered at Merlin as he stormed past, but he still left an empty seat beside him for Merlin to shuffle into once the Professor had finished warning him from misconduct with a frighteningly effective stare from such a miniature man.
The subsequent seven years of life at Hogwarts passed in much the same manner, but neither of them particularly minded.